Now that the season of Lent has ended, so have our Lenten promises, and with our Lenten promises, the daily reminder to try and grow closer in your relationship with Christ.
Much like New Year’s resolutions, Lenten promises are often forgotten and given up on. Whether you give up desserts, soda or sleeping in, we usually go right back to living out bad habits right when Easter begins. But the entire point of making these promises is to strive to be better going forward. We often ask ourselves, how can we continue to be better even after Lent?
Continuing to not eat chocolate might be beneficial for our health, but not super important for developing our relationship with Christ. Instead, to grow further in our faith, we should begin by living out our Christian responsibility to help and care for those around us all year long.
All Christians are called to take care of our neighbors but often times this duty seems daunting. We either don’t know what we can do to help others, or we feel like what we do isn’t big enough to make a difference in someone’s life.
We tend to believe that there will always someone who is doing bigger, better and more important things than we are. Sometimes we even convince ourselves that what we do doesn’t matter because people are doing more than us. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just because a dime is less than a quarter, doesn’t mean that it’s worthless, the same way a small act of kindness isn’t worthless compared to a bigger act of kindness.
A friend of mine, who is currently an overseas missionary for the Catholic Church, often told me that not everyone is supposed to go across the world to help those in need, some are meant to take care of the people who live just next door. This advice is something that I always keep in the back of my mind and can be applied to everyday, especially after Lent.
The important thing to remember is that no work of charity is too small. Whether you donate an old sweater that you don’t wear anymore, volunteer once a week at a soup kitchen or you raise millions of dollars for a charity, you are helping someone somewhere. That within itself is enough.
A better way to think about charity is to ask yourself, “What would happen if I did this?” For example, if your school is having a blood drive and you aren’t sure if you want to sign up or not, ask yourself that question. If you decide to donate blood, you could be able to help someone who’s fighting for their life. You could potentially save someone’s life by donating blood, a seemingly small act, but one that could have an amazing effect on someone else.
Despite what we may think, even the most minuscule acts of kindness can bring us closer to Christ and help us fulfill his mission and spread his word through actions. Helping others is exactly what Jesus wanted us to do. He never said that any act was too small because any act is enough to spread love and make a difference in the world.
We can find a million small ways to help people around us. We can donate clothes we don’t wear anymore, help an elderly neighbor mow their lawn, even usher or altar serve during Mass. No matter what your age or income, there is always something we can do to be there for the people around us.
In the end, it’s important to remember that Lent is not the only time we should strive to be invested in our faith. Faith isn’t a seasonal subscription, it’s a lifetime commitment and Lent is only the beginning. By doing anything we can to spread joy and charity to our neighbors, we grow infinitely closer to our Savior.
Ardyn Townzen is a sophomore at Creighton University in Omaha. St. Stephen Church in Bentonville is her home parish.
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